Any realtor will tell you that location is the most important factor in a home. When it comes to vegetable gardening, location is important too. Scouting out a prime location for your garden is the first step in ensuring your success as a grower of veggies.
Sunshine. Ideally you need 5-6 hours of full sun to really grow. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Eastern morning sun is mild and western afternoon sun is harsh. The sun is strongest and most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Grab a compass and see what direction your location is. Spend a day or two observing the spot you’ve chosen.
You might be surprised, thinking that a spot is full sun, but as you watch you may find that a far away tree shadows shade much of the afternoon.
There are food items that will grow in sun and partial shade.
- Swiss chard
If you’re looking to grow zucchini, tomatos, peppers or melons, you’ll need some serious sunlight. Think of those leaves as solar panels. they’ve got to do a lot of work to make flowers which will bear fruit.
I thought we were talking about growing vegetables!
Tomatoes, cuucumbers and melons are technically fruit. Botanically speaking, a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant, whereas vegetables are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves and stems. This includes such botanical fruits as eggplants, bell peppers and tomatoes.
Water is life. Your garden location will do best with easy access to water. Will a hose reach your location? Or do you plan on carrying a watering can? We cannot always count on mother nature to give us regular watering in the garden, its up to us!
Critters, big and small. What is your critter situation? Are there deer that regularly travel thru your yard, eating everythig and anything in their path? Groundhogs can clear out a garden in a very short amount of time. Squirrels like to take just one bite out of a perfectly ripened tomato and scurry off! Don’t let critters scare you from growing food. There are ways around them.
You might consider fencing. The best thing I ever did was fence in my yard. Walter, my long legged rescue dog, needs to run and chase squirrels.
There are other ways to protect gardens from being eaten w/out massive fencing projects. Cloches made of chicken wire can be easily utilized to let sunshine in and keep critters out. There are also flowers and aromatic herbs that will keep deer away.
If you home is too shady or if there are too many obstacles to creating a garden space, consider joining a nearby community garden. For a nominal fee, you’ll get a sunny fenced in location and fellow gardeners who will be happy to help you on your journey as a vegetable gardener.